About us

Our mission is to develop self-sufficient communities in hard-to-reach rural areas of northern Malawi.

We achieve this by having strong guiding principles and a clear strategy which permeate everything we do: from managing our projects, to raising funds and communicating our work.

Our principles

At the heart of our organisation is a community-led approach to development, making sure that everything we do is developed in partnership with the people we support. We want to help communities achieve self-sufficiency, so our projects provide sustainable, long-term training to become independent.

To do that, we have to work with trust and integrity, with a team of staff and volunteers who we can rely on. This also means always operating with professionalism, using the skills, experience, and local knowledge we’ve acquired since we started.

Our strategy

Our guiding priniciples are fundamental to our ten year strategy, developed in partnership with staff, trustees, community members, and local chiefs and government. This strategy will help us grow and continue to provide much-needed support and development opportunities to Nkhata Bay North.

At the end of ten years, we should have done our work so well, that these communities won’t need Temwa any more. That’s why central to the strategy is our exit plan. Over the course of our work, we will leave structures, training and opportunities in place that will enable communities to continue reaping the benefits of projects, long after we’ve stopped directly supporting them. We’ll then be able to move on to new areas in need of support.

Where we work

We work in the Nkhata Bay North district of Malawi – one of the poorest countries in the world. Nkhata Bay North is a very remote area on the edge of Lake Malawi, comprising 145 villages which are home to around 45,000 people. Most people live in a large, flat lakeside area, although there are also some villages in the upland mountain range. Overall, the region is extremely isolated and receives little government help.

Some of the main problems facing communities are:

  • a chronic shortage of food, often with periods of starvation;
  • high rates of HIV and AIDS;
  • limited access to basic education;
  • deforestation, which causes flooding and displacement;
  • only one hospital in the region, which lacks fundamental equipment, staff and medicine;
  • very few roads and limited access to transport;
  • limited employment opportunities.


Temwa was founded in 2003 by our Managing Director, Jo Hook, and one of our trustees, Sophie Guise, after running a backpackers’ lodge in Usisya, a remote village on the lakeshore.

During their time at the lodge, Jo and Sophie’s close friend and colleague, Lotti Nkhwazi, died after developing AIDS. Lotti had little access to healthcare before his death and had been supporting his sister, brother, and sister-in-law, as well as 15 children, through his income from the lodge. His death had a dramatic impact on his extended family and their fortunes.

Seeing first-hand the challenging conditions that so many Malawians must face on a daily basis inspired Jo and Sophie to return to the UK in 2000, where they spent the following three years fundraising and researching how best to help people like Lotti.

With that, Temwa was born, and officially launched as a charity in 2003.

Our key achievements

From initially supporting a small community of 2,000, we’ve continued to grow, and today work with around 45,000 people.

Over the past 17 years, we have:

  • trained over 5,000 farmers to grow additional vegetable crops;
  • tested over 25,000 people for HIV;
  • distributed more than 1,100 microloans to entrepreneurs;
  • planted half a million trees.

Read more about our achievements in the Annual Report and Accounts

Strategic Plan

We launched our Ten Year Strategy in 2013, our tenth birthday. We wanted this Strategy to come from our key stakeholders and the in-country team: as a Malawian organisation serving communities in this country, it’s crucial that our ideas and long-term vision come from Malawi. To achieve this, we held the strategic development process in Malawi and ensured that it included discussions with the staff team, community members, local chiefs, government representatives, and our own board of trustees.

Strategic objectives

Our Strategy focuses on five key areas:

1. Development formula

We will replicate our development model in rural regions of northern Malawi, developing community capacity for our eventual successful exit.

2. Leadership and skills

We will focus on increased governance with clear leadership and management policies.

3. Sustainable funding

We will strengthen our financial foundations, including increasing funds available and diversifying our income streams.

4. Learning and sharing

We will develop more working partnerships to encourage learning and sharing, developing a clear reputation as experts in rural development.

5. Operational effectiveness

We will enhance organisational processes in order to build the capacity of staff and volunteers, so improving our operational effectiveness and efficiency.

Our exit strategy

Central to our strategic plan is our exit strategy, and we’ve discussed how we will successfully exit with the local community, staff members, and all other key stakeholders in Nkhata Bay North. We will leave a legacy of community-owned business structures, enabling economic development to continue to impact the communities long beyond the lifespan of our work in the area. After ten years, we plan to move on to new areas and operations, leaving behind a self-sufficient community which no longer requires our help.

Annual Reports and Accounts

You can read about our achievements in our annual reports and accounts below.

This site uses cookies. By using this site you are agreeing to the use of cookies.